Jury deliberates in Spalding County cold case murder trial

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The case of a black man's dragging death is now in the hands of a Spalding County jury.

Both sides gave their closing arguments Monday in the trial of Frankie Gebhardt who was charged in the 1983 murder of Timonthy Coggins. Investigators believe the murder was racially motivated and that Coggins was killed because he was black. Prosecutors said Gebhardt and his co-defendant Bill Moore, Sr. bragged about killing the 23-year-old man.

During Monday’s closing arguments Spalding County District Attorney Benjamin Coker told Jurors direct evidence points to Frank Gebhardt’s guilt in the 35-year-old cold murder case.

Gebhardt, the first of two suspects on trial, charged along with co-defendant Bill Moore Sr. with murdering Timothy Coggins in 1983. Prosecutors claim the killing was racially motivated. Coggins was black, the suspects are white. Prosecutors said the defendants were upset Coggins was dating a white woman.

With the physical evidence collected at the crime scene lost years ago, the prosecution built its case largely on testimony from witnesses who testified Gebhardt and Moore bragged about killing Coggins, stabbing him dozens of time and dragging him behind a truck.

But Gebhardt’s attorney told jurors witnesses, some of whom are inmates, lied on the stand in hopes of getting better deals. Lee said that, combined with the lack of physical evidence in the case, the prosecution failed to prove his client killed Coggins.

The DA said none of the inmates who testified against Gebhardt got a deal and said the defendant provided details about the crime over the years only the killers would know.

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